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Testing of Alkyl Nitrite 'Poppers'

TGA Laboratory testing

6 June 2019

Products containing alkyl nitrites, some of which have a street name of 'poppers', are inhaled and are used to produce a muscle relaxant effect.

There is some, incomplete, evidence that particular members of the family of alkyl nitrite substances may be more toxic than others. The TGA has tested a range of alkyl nitrite-containing products to confirm the identity of the type of alkyl nitrite present. The alkyl nitrites suspected or known to have been used in 'poppers' include propyl, isopropyl, butyl, isobutyl, amyl (aka pentyl), isoamyl (aka isopentyl), and octyl nitrites.

To inform the recent discussion around rescheduling of alkyl nitrites, the TGA Laboratories have analysed samples of alkyl nitrite 'poppers' available for purchase both within Australia and from overseas. The purpose of this testing was to confirm the identity of the alkyl nitrites being used in the products and to compare the results to the labelled ingredients.

Eight samples of alkyl nitrite 'poppers', labelled as 'leather cleaners', and obtained from local adult stores, were analysed for the presence of alkyl nitrites. The scheduled (S4) substance isobutyl nitrite was identified as the single major ingredient in all eight products. The product labels all claimed to contain 'alkyl nitrite' but did not specify which one.

The products tested were:

  • RUSH Original with Power Pak Pellet 10 ml Bottle
  • SUPER RUSH - Black Label with Power Pellet 10 ml Bottle
  • Blue Boy Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle
  • Colt Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle
  • Jungle Juice Black Label Extreme Formula Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle
  • Jungle Juice Platinum Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle
  • Premium Iron Horse Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle
  • Amsterdam Special Leather Cleaner 30 ml Bottle

Two of the products also contained a small white tablet suspended in the liquid referred to on the labelling as a 'power pellet' or 'power pak pellet'. These tablets were found to consist of aluminium oxide, possibly intended to absorb any moisture and help prevent degradation of the isobutyl nitrite.

Samples of a further ten products obtained from overseas websites were also tested. A single major alkyl nitrite ingredient was found in each of these samples.

Five of the samples were found to contain isopropyl nitrite while the remaining five samples were found to contain isoamyl nitrite (aka isopentyl nitrite).

Eight of the samples contained the type of alkyl nitrite claimed on the label. Two of the samples stated the ingredient as 'Pentyl nitrite' but instead contained isopentyl nitrite (aka isoamyl nitrite).

Two of the samples containing isopropyl nitrite incorrectly stated CAS registry numbers[1] for isoamyl nitrite on their labels although the ingredient naming was correct on each product.

The results for products obtained from overseas websites are as follows:

Product Name Label Claims Identified alkyl nitrite compound

LIQUID GOLD

Room Odorisor

Isopropyl Nitrite Isopropyl nitrite

GATE!,

Poppers amyl

Isoamyl Nitrite

(CAS 110-46-3)

Isoamyl nitrite

LADY

Room Odorisor

Isopropyl nitrite

(cas-110-46-3)*

Isopropyl nitrite
TRIP

Isopropyl Nitrite

(CAS 541-42-4)

Isopropyl nitrite
EVEREST PREMIUM

Isoamyl Nitrite

(CAS 110-46-3)

Isoamyl nitrite

SCREAM

Room Deodorisor

Isopropyl nitrite

(cas 110-46-3)*

Isopropyl nitrite
EVEREST ENJOY IT!

Isopropyl Nitrite

(CAS 541-42-4)

Isopropyl nitrite
ADLER

Pentyl Nitrite

CAS 463-04-7

Isoamyl nitrite

VERITABLE POPPERS

Nitrite D'Amyle

NITRITE D'AMYLE

Nitrite d'isoamyle

Isoamyl nitrite

FIST

Room Odoriser

Pentyl Nitrite

CAS 110-46-3*

Isoamyl nitrite

* CAS number quoted on labelling corresponds to isoamyl nitrite

The samples obtained from the Australian market were not registered on the ARTG (Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods), and were found to lack appropriate details on the label regarding ingredients. This lack of detailed information, such as ingredient identity and content, does not allow consumers to make informed decisions about the product they are using. While products from overseas generally contained the compounds identified on the label, there were examples of labelling that could be considered misleading, and none of the products stated the content amounts.


Footnotes